Author Tags: Transportation

A lifetime E&N railway worker for the Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway, whose father "Monk" and brother Al were also railway engineers on Vancouver Island, Donald F. MacLachlan started working for E&N as a young wiper at the roundhouse and eventually became an engineer. Having preserved photos and documents about the railway, he was made an honorary citizen of the City of Victoria in 1983. Born in 1923, he died in 2011.

Having written 15 books on railways and steamships, Robert (Bob) Turner is considered the foremost authority on transportation history in British Columbia. His first book was about Vancouver Island railways, in 1973. Almost forty years later he teamed with the late Don F. MacLachlan for The Canadian Pacific’s Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway (Sono Nis $39.95), a fascinating and comprehensive history of the railway that was started by the Dunsmuir coal mining family in the late 1800s. With almost 500 photos and 304 pages, this handsome companion volume to MacLachlan’s 1986 history of the E&N in the Dunsmuir era is a splendid tribute to the remote, westernmost end of the Canadian Pacific system and the lifeline of southern Vancouver Island. CPR replaced E&N’s steam engines with diesel in 1949, giving rise to a third and final era of the railway. The lavish volume on the steam era of E&N was a project of the B.C. Railway Historical Association.

Review of the author's work by BC Studies:
The Canadian Pacific's Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway: The CPR steam years, 1905-1949
Vancouver Island’s Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway: The Canadian Pacific, VIA Rail and Shortline Years, 1949-2013
The Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway: The Dunsmuir Years: 1884-1905


The Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway: The Dunsmuir Years, 1884-1905 (1986)

The Canadian Pacific’s Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway (Sono Nis 2012) $39.95 978-1-55039-204-3

[BCBW, 2012]

Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway
Publisher's Promo (2012)

The Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway had a special character and charm like few others. Skirting the eastern coastline of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, it was separated from the rest of the national and continental rail network by the Georgia and Juan de Fuca Straits. During the days of steam power on the railway, it was a distant and often rustic outpost of the Canadian Pacific Railway’s vast system, but it was a profitable one. It hauled logs and coal, fish and paper, strawberries and raspberries, beer and wine, automobiles and oil, and tons and tons of wood. The E&N carried soldiers off to two world wars, toured royalty on Vancouver Island and carried hundreds of passengers in stately parlour cars or rickety day coaches. The mail was sorted on the trains and could be delivered “Up Island” in a matter of hours. The E&N’s well-maintained steam locomotives were the pride of the railway.

Engineers, conductors and other crewmen were known up and down Vancouver Island. The railway was like a family to many who worked on it; many stayed with it for their entire careers. It did much to shape the character of Vancouver Island and provided the key links between people, places and the goods and services they needed and produced. It was essential and irreplaceable.

Carefully researched, sensitively written and beautifully illustrated, this book captures the E&N in its many moods. Hundreds of never-before-published rare photos, including some exceptional colour images from the 1940s, and an extensive and insightful text document the railway, the people who worked on it and all those whose lives it shaped.

RAILWAY / HISTORY • 304 pp • 11 x 9 • 475+ photos,
incl. 8 pgs of colour, with maps, timetables

ISBN 978-1-55039-204-3 • softcover • $39.95
ISBN 978-1-55039-206-7 • hardcover • $49.95